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The micronutrient crisis during the pandemic has proven to be a major challenge for the state government

A number of nutritional welfare programs launched in Rajasthan aimed to help women and children affected by disruptions in routine programs such as integrated child development services and the lunch program during the pandemic. The micronutrient crisis has turned out to be a major challenge for the state government.

Experts have called for strategies to be developed to speed up micronutrient supplementation and strengthen food fortification. With the upcoming third wave likely to make matters worse, policy should focus on effective nutrition monitoring.

The chairman of the State Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Sangeeta Beniwal, said here on Thursday that the nutrition-oriented programs, such as the Indira Rasoi Yojana, provide food to the poor and needy twice a day that has supported people during the pandemic. Healthy lifestyles for pregnant women have also been promoted with government support so that they can give birth to healthy children.

Sudhir Bhandari, principal of the Sawai Man Singh Government Medical College in Jaipur, said the children with malnutrition were more likely to suffer from the complications of the pandemic. “We need to strengthen food security and expand the supply chain for the population at risk,” he said.

Rationalization of interventions

The experts recommended steps to streamline nutritional interventions while addressing a virtual event on “Fighting Nutritional Crises”.

DK Mangal, advisor to the School of Public Health at Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) University, said the nutritious, diverse and safe foods in early childhood and access to basic health, water and sanitation would help to improve the nutritional status of women and children.

Udaipur-based President of Narayan Seva Sansthan Prashant Agarwal said the village’s panchayats would play an important role in strengthening nutrition programs and providing nutritional education in schools. Mr Agarwal spoke out in favor of formulating policies based on gender equality in nutrition.